Image ©John Branch for the Rivard Report, 2017.

La Antorcha de la Amistad, or the Torch of Friendship, is one of the most recognizable landmarks in downtown San Antonio. Commissioned by the Asociación de Empresarios Mexicanos (AEM) and created by Mexican sculptor Sebastián, this gift from the Mexican government represents the shared culture and cooperation between the city and Mexico. 

The new president’s executive orders to build a multi-billion dollar border wall, amp up Border Patrol forces, crack down on illegal immigration, and renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) have jeopardized the relationship between the U.S. and its southern neighbor and yielded both concern and silence among local officials.

While Trump advisor Kellyanne Conway coined the term “alternative facts” in regards to false statements made by White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer, the impending crisis between the U.S. and Mexico is no “alternative fire,” but it is one local leaders hope can be put out.

“It’s a crisis driven by rhetoric rather than facts,” Consul General in San Antonio Héctor Velasco Monroy told the Rivard Report on Friday. “Both countries benefit enormously from the relationship, yet the words coming out of Washington misinform people and make them believe otherwise.”

The historical context of San Antonio and Texas in relation to Mexico is very different compared to other areas in the U.S., Velasco said, so he is counting on San Antonians to now stand up for preserving those ties.

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John Branch

Cartoonist John Branch has commented on San Antonio and Texas politics for decades; his work is syndicated nationally by King Features.